Who are the top 30 leaders linking wind & storage?

BY RICHARD HEAP

  • European Power List includes its inaugural ‘Top 30 Storage Stars’ section
  • Trailblazers from Fluence, Energy Vault and RWE among those featured
  • The need to build bridges between wind and storage becoming urgent

This week, Energy Storage Report’s sister title A Word About Wind has published its European Power List.

Released annually, this report looks at the 100 most influential people in the wind industry in Europe, as well as key sector trends.

However, this year the report includes something extra. For the first time, this year’s European Power List includes the ‘Top 30 Storage Stars’, which was compiled by Energy Storage Report. This list reveals the 30 individuals in Europe doing the most to forge strong links between the wind and storage sectors.

Who’s on the list?

This list features key individuals from a wide range of companies in the wind and storage industries. Included in the list are representatives from energy storage technology specialists such as Fluence, Energy Vault, Gravitricity, Northvolt and Saft.

Also included in the list are wind and storage leaders from European utilities such as Acciona, EDF, Iberdrola, RWE, Shell and Vattenfall.

In addition, the list also features representatives from wind turbine manufacturers – such as Enercon, Siemens Gamesa and Vestas – that are adding storage to their offering. Also included are big-hitters from investors such as Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners and Macquarie’s Green Investment Group.

Why has the ‘Top 30 Storage Stars’ list been published now?

The publication of the ‘Top 30 Storage Stars’ list comes at a time when the global energy storage sector is coming of age.

This is particularly evident in the US, where developers are increasingly adding batteries to their solar farms. Indeed, the links between batteries and solar are well known. The sun is more predictable than the wind; and the short-duration storage potential of batteries is ideal for assisting grid operators in their efforts to save power created on sunny days for use in peak evening hours.

By contrast, the wind industry has been slower to catch on to the benefits of storage. It is not such an obvious pairing and, arguably, it takes more of a leap of faith to make these projects work. This is why we feel it is the right time to highlight the industry leaders who are committed to making such projects happen. 

How storage improves wind farm output

Recent developments have highlighted the ways in which energy storage systems are being deployed to help the wind industry in Europe. Last month, Swedish utility Vattenfall turned on its Energypark Haringvliet in the Netherlands, which combines wind, solar and a 12MWh battery storage system. This shows that some utilities are looking at how they can put storage on wind farm sites to ensure power output is stable and predictable.

Meanwhile, in Ireland, we have seen Irish state utility ESB and storage firm Fluence take a different approach with three battery storage projects. The pair are working on one of Europe’s largest battery projects – a 75MW / 150MWh system in Dublin, which is due to come online this year – as well as two smaller schemes totalling 98MWh. While these batteries are not co-located with ESB’s wind and solar farms in Ireland, such standalone batteries can still play an important role in supporting the rollout of wind.

Co-located wind and storage still rare 

In a reflection of this trend, the ’Top 30 Storage Stars’ highlights industry leaders at companies developing co-located and standalone energy storage schemes, as both types of projects will play a vital role in supporting the success of wind energy.

We need only look at this graphic by trade association WindEurope to see that hybrid wind-and-storage developments are still few and far between in Europe. The WindEurope data shows that the 22MW / 15MWh battery at the 228MW Pen y Cymoedd wind farm in Wales is still Europe’s largest co-located battery and wind project, ahead of the aforementioned 12MW Vattenfall installation in the Netherlands.

Moving into storage is not easy, but it’s vital

Increasingly, however, huge battery systems are being used to scale up the amount of wind and solar-generated power that is added to European electricity grids, while a growing number of energy companies are recognising the benefits of developing standalone storage projects.

One example is Shell’s 100MW / 100MWh Minety project in Wiltshire in the UK, which is currently Europe’s largest operational battery project, and Shell also has approval for an additional 50MW more. But even this could be dwarfed by the next generation of standalone storage – take Amp Energy’s 800MW / 1.6GWh scheme in Scotland, which won approval in January this year.

Granted, the move into storage is not a straightforward shift for companies in the wind sector to make, but it is important that they do so. That’s why the ‘Top 30 Storage Stars’ list is so timely during an epoch in which the wind industry is looking to key figures in the sector to guide it through the next crucial phase of its development.

How to get hold of your copy of the ‘Top 30 Storage Stars’ 

You can find out more about the European Power list and the ‘Top 30 Storage Stars’ list by clicking here.

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